Answers and solutions for healthy landscapes

Landscape treatments and our priorities

It is always a pleasure to pay a call to someone who has just had a landscape project installed and are now looking for services to maintain their investment. Preventive maintenance is always the best course of action and man-made environments will always need mechanical and material inputs to maintain the vision of the original design.
This is when our offerings make the most sense. Lawns require nutrient inputs, weed control, and on occasion, insect control to keep that lush monoculture growing verdantly. Planting beds and bare ground require weed control to keep beneficial plants looking their best and not having to compete with invasive plants for sun and nutrients. Plants and trees that are not naturally resistant to insect and disease attacks may require treatments to control pests and add nutrients.
Now on the other hand…
We often get called out to look at long-neglected or poorly installed landscapes with the expectation that if we can just spray our magic healing dust over it, somehow a whole bunch of elbow grease and/or dollars need not be expended. I wish it were so.
There are many elements that go into a healthy, functional and visually pleasing landscape. From irrigation design and management to plant selection, pruning and mowing to traffic control (your Grayhound will convert your yard into a racetrack).
Although important, our services are but a slice of the equation. Sometimes it is difficult, when talking to existing or potential clients, to point out better ways to spend the dollars they want to spend with us.
For instance: In some cases, it is better to remove a disease susceptible plant or tree than to spend hundreds of dollars a year treating it, especially if you are marginally attached to it or it is a maintenance burden in other ways (pruning/ leaf cleanup). Some folks feel an obligation to maintain such features if they inherited the property or someone’s beloved pet was memorialized by its planting. My feeling is that landscapes are to be enjoyed rather than begrudged.
A local HOA that budgeted thousands of dollars a year for us to treat the extremely disease -prone photinia hedges that stretched through swaths of public areas, finally responded to our recommendation to remove the photinia and replace it with a disease resistant variety. A lot of money could have been saved had they responded sooner.
There also seems to be an age demographic (not much older than me) that sees spraying of any kind as “the right thing to do” without much consideration for the actual outcome of said spraying. Years ago, we had several customers we sprayed trees once a year for, in the spring. The effects were minimal unless we happen to catch tent caterpillars at the right stage. They were happy and felt they had fulfilled their civic duty to the neighborhood. I recall being asked by a one-time-a- year customer “why was there still apple scab on my apple tree? You sprayed it last year!”

All this to say, we at Wolbert’s are happy to help you prioritize your landscape needs. We will only recommend treatments that are helpful and meaningful to your particular landscape and budget. We will gladly refer you to other companies that can help with irrigation, mowing and aeration services, pruning, large tree care and removal, hardscaping, lawn installation and tree and shrub planting.